Poorly maintained tyres putting lives at risk, safety group warns

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Motorists who fail to look after and replace their tyres are putting their own lives, and those of others, in grave danger, according to TyreSafe.

The stark warning comes from the UK’s leading tyre safety group after it received shocking images from of a tyre removed from a high performance BMW 3-series, which was so worn, none of its tread pattern remained, making it virtually useless in the wet. The wear was so great on one shoulder of the tyre that it had started to destroy the integrity of the tyre carcass, with potentially fatal high speed consequences.

Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, said: “This particular tyre was an accident waiting to happen. Adequate tread depth is essential all year round, but particularly important just now when we are experiencing so much rain and difficult driving conditions.

“Checking your tyre tread depth is very simple and only takes a few minutes. It really is something that all drivers should do at least once a month to stay safe and legal.”

Current UK law requires car drivers to have at least 1.6mm of tread on their tyres across the central three quarters of the tyre around its entire circumference. Vehicle owners caught driving on illegal tyres face fines of up to £2,500 and three penalty points per tyre on their licence. In 2012 more than 170 drivers per week were successfully prosecuted in court for driving on defective tyres.

However, more importantly, driving on illegal tyres can greatly reduce safety on the road, especially in wet conditions. The tyres tread grooves help to evacuate water from the road surface, enabling the tyre to grip the road properly so that the vehicle can brake, steer and accelerate safely. Without adequate tread depth, all of these are greatly compromised, risking the safety of the driver, their passengers and other road users.

To help drivers quickly assess if their car tyres are safe and legal, TyreSafe recommends taking the 20p test. Drivers simply need to insert a 20p coin into the main grooves of a tyre. If the outer band of the 20p coin is visible when inserted into the groove, then the tread is probably too low and should be inspected immediately by a qualified tyre professional.

Jackson added: “Sadly, the bad weather shows no sign of subsiding at the moment so it’s particularly important that drivers ensure their tyres can cope in these terrible conditions.”

Motorists who are put off replacing illegal tyres because of the cost, can get great deals on new tyres from etyres, the leading online mobile tyre fitting company. Its highly competitive prices are currently even lower thanks to its Big Tyre Sale, which offers a £25 discount on four or more new tyres or £10 off two or three new tyres.

Denna Bowman, Head Office

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